For those of you that don't know, I specialise in photographing gardens, plants and the people who work in them. One question I often get asked is, 'What equipment do you use?'. I think for photographers starting out, keen amateurs and even some of the pro's (me included) the barrage of equipment can seem a bit daunting. So here are my suggestions for essential photo equipment. Now there is no definitive list, and you may find that you get on better with a different mix depending on your style. But, you need to start somewhere, or as John Cage said,
and this is where I would begin.
A strong, made-for-purpose, waterproof bag, rucksack style or over the shoulder whatever your preference.
A good SLR camera, which one, your choice the best you can afford....but
AND THIS IS A BIG BUT
Don't buy a flashy 200 zillion megapixel, all-singing-all-dancing camera if you can't afford decent lenses.
BECAUSE it doesn't matter how many megapixels your camera delivers if you shoot through a bit of plastic. IT'S NEVER GOING TO LOOK GOOD. So,
'Your lenses are your best friends, spend time learning their magic and use it wisely'
Buying an all-singing-all-dancing cheapish lens will be a waste of money. It will, no arguements.
So, what are the basics:
A good quality wide angle (say focal length somewhere around 24-70mm).
A good quality telephoto (say focal length somewhere around 70-200mm)
A good quality macro (say focal length 100mm or above any less and you will be eating leaves.
That's the bare minimum after you master their capabilities you can add more to create something a bit different. What do I mean, 'master their capabilities?'. Because lenses deliver all sorts of lovely surprises, its up to you to find out how to get the best out of them. Spend time learning their magic and use it wisely.
Note, with the exeption of the macro lens, I have suggested telephotos. Now, there's a very good arguement to suggest that you are better off using prime lenses (fixed focal length) which I agree with. However, if you want to spend all
your time changing lenses and giving yourself lots of opportunities to get your sensor covered in dust that's fine. It's a trade-off, your choice.
Lens hoods for each lens.
A few clean lint free cloths and a blower brush to keep things tidy
A tripod, not essential in every circumstance but in pretty much most. Get used to it. Everyone moans when they start using them, you do get used to it. Sturdy, sturdy, sturdy.
A remote camera release.
A strong back.
An open mind.
A full stomach, I cannot work when I am hungry ...
Found photographing in rain or shine for magazines and the like.
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